Jennifer Lopez with Prof. Jose Cohen
Jennifer Lopez with Prof. Jose Cohen Hadassah Spokesperson

Jennifer Lopez, who lives with her family in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, had suffered a stroke and was told by doctors that another pregnancy could be fatal. The heartbroken Lopez sat before doctors and was told that she should never try to have another child.

The 29-year-old Lopez, who was born in Ecuador and immigrated to Israel 13 years ago, met the love of her life in Israel, married, and gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Two years ago, Jennifer suffered a stroke:

"I was at work when I started to feel bad," Jennifer said. 'I took my phone to answer the messages and my phone fell out of my hand, I picked it up and it fell again, the third time I realized that something strange was going on. I thought that perhaps I had had a stroke, but I convinced myself that there was no way, I'm young! When I stood up from the chair at work, I felt that my left leg had fallen asleep and I dragged it. I picked up the phone to call to my mother – she's a nurse - and I told her what had happened. She told me to get it checked out immediately.

"I don't know why I stalled. I probably didn't believe that I was really having a stroke! I said to myself, ‘It’s not going to happen to me' so I didn't rush. Only a few hours later did I go to the TEREM Emergency Clinic.

"From that point on everything happened very quickly, and after a few minutes, I was already being rushed by ambulance to Hadassah Ein Kerem.

"They were waiting for me at the hospital. I was treated very professionally and underwent various tests. It was there that I first found out that I was actually having a stroke and also discovered that I was at the beginning of a pregnancy that was unfortunately outside the womb.

"That is when I met Prof. José Cohen, the Director of the Cerebral Catheterization Unit, for the first time. He immediately performed my catheterization, following which I was hospitalized for various tests to try to figure out what was the cause of the incident. Time passed and they performed an additional MRI and catherizations but the cause of my situation remained a mystery. The doctors raised the possibility that it was related to my pregnancy, as they could not find anything else."

Jennifer lost that pregnancy but recovered. As she relates:

"The months passed and again the need to increase the family size and bring home a brother or sister to our daughter grew. In consultation with different neurologists, they made it clear that a pregnancy would be life-threatening. I was quite fearful. I visualized my daughter in front of me and thought that I had to take care of myself for her sake, certainly in light of all the harsh predictions.

"Then I came to Prof. Cohen for a check-up," Jennifer says with a smile. "In consultation with him, it was the first time I did not hear about the catastrophes that awaited me. We explained to him that we really wanted to have another child and it is very difficult for us to accept that this is the end of the story.

"Prof. Cohen understood the situation. He explained to me in detail what the doctors' concerns were, what the deliberations were, and what the risks could be, however, he did not forget to say the important fact that everything might go well, that the pregnancy that had been aborted may not have had anything to do with the event I went through. He promised that he would accompany me no matter the decision that I made. The dilemma was great, but I trusted him and following consultation with my husband, we decided to go forward."

"We work in an era of defensive medicine, it's no secret" says Prof. Cohen. "There are many situations in which a pregnant patient suffers from various medical problems and as part of the medical recommendations, she is told to have an abortion or not to get pregnant at all. As far as I'm concerned, giving up a child is giving up a dream, and I don't always agree with that recommendation, because it's a very high price to pay.

"I believe in research, science, and its results, and sometimes the recommendation to have an abortion is made due to a hunch and not based on researched medical evidence," Cohen stressed, explaining:

"The age at which women are at their peak fertility is also the age at which there is a record number of other diseases, for example, AVM - a common venous arterial malformation between the ages of 20 and 40 - which is also the age at which most women become pregnant. When a woman comes to me with AVM and happens to be pregnant, can I blame the pregnancy? Perhaps it’s just a coincidence?

"I can't know if there's definitely a connection or if it's just a coincidence. In the research literature, there's not enough information on the subject, and most of the time we don't have enough evidence to accurately indicate that the pregnancy is the cause of the disease, that's the motif that always guides me unless I know for sure otherwise.

"When Jennifer and her husband came to me, I realized that they really wanted a child. I checked and reviewed all the literature and looked for a situation similar to hers and couldn't find anything that necessarily linked pregnancy to a stroke. I sat down with her and her husband and laid out everything I knew and what I didn't. I saw that she understood the risks and also realized that everything might go well.

"I accompanied her, as I had promised, the whole way. She was under my care and strict monitoring. I was in contact with her gynecologist and also with her obstetrician, in order to make sure that the pregnancy went well, as well as the birth, and to my delight they did. Jennifer and her husband have an adorable son and I'm glad to have played a part in their great joy."

"Prof. Cohen always had the right answers and the right words for us," Jennifer said excitedly, as she embraced her son. “He was confident in himself and in me and thanks to him, I was confident with the decision I had made.

"I met a doctor who was supportive, internalized the idea and led, who made sure to talk to me at my level, let me make an informed decision by myself, and did not ‘cancel’ me and my feelings. Thanks to him, today we have a son, and our daughter is privileged to have the brother she always dreamed of," said the happy mother.